City Hall was filled with silence as visitors stopped in to honor Thomas M. Menino late into the night Thursday, a solemn continuation of the outburst of love for the former mayor that marked a day of grief and remembrances.
Families, friends, residents, and others stopped into the cavernous hall to leave notes for the family of Menino, who died Thursday at age 71, in a book that rested on the podium at which Menino frequently spoke. Some were teary eyed as they laid mementoes near the podium, while others chose to celebrate what they remembered of the mayor.
“I thought he was awesome,” said Comaletha Baron, 71. She has lived in Boston for 69 years, and met Menino once at an Iron Workers union meeting. “I loved that he came to every neighborhood. He is like family.”
At about 9 p.m., a new visitor would wander in every five minutes to silently leave a note, and move on. Many who passed through regarded Menino as a friend and neighbor, and for some he really was. Flora Alvarez lives near the Menino home in Hyde Park, and has been in Boston for 25 years.
“He had a good heart,” she said, her husband Wally by her side.
“Some people are born for the job they do,” he said. “He could have even been a governor or senator, but he was born to be a mayor.”
Some, however, came from outside Boston to City Hall, where flags were at half-staff, to feel closer to the memory of the man who ruled the city for 20 years.
“I wanted to pay my respects,” said Dan Cohen, 18, of Bedford. He and his father, Barry, had just stepped from behind the podium, which was draped in a wreath of flowers. “I had to come.”
Menino’s memory also drew those who are newer to Boston.
“Even for the amount of time I’ve been here, it’s obvious what legacy he’s left,” said Bethany Toye, 31, who moved to the North End six years ago. “I have a friend who works at a Boys and Girls Club there, and she remembers the kids would run up to him any time he came.”
Josh Stroman, 29, moved from South Carolina three years ago and said he credits Menino with creating a city of acceptance.
“You can pursue anything here,” Stroman said. “And for anyone who’s interested in politics and doing it right, Menino is the one to look to.”
Earlier, Mayor Martin J. Walsh appeared at a brief press conference in Dorchester after returning from Menino’s home, where Walsh spoke with the former mayor’s wife Angela. He said they had a personal chat, but he would not divulge details.
“I spoke to some of Menino’s staffers today and they said the reaction of love and support over the week has been incredible. ” Walsh said. “We’ve watched an outpouring of letters and calls to City Hall, the hospital, his family.”